Teens who laughed and recorded man’s drowning death and did nothing won’t be charged

Jamel Dunn

COCOA, Fla. — The four juveniles and one adult who laughed and recorded a Florida man’s drowning death last year will not face criminal charges.

WFTS reported that the State Attorney’s Office made the announcement Friday, saying there is no law in Florida that requires people to help when someone’s in distress.

Jamel Dunn, 31, drowned in a retention pond in Cocoa, Florida, on July 12, 2017. Cocoa police said they later discovered that the group, ages 14 to 18, recorded Dunn’s drowning on video.

The teens in the video can be heard laughing at Dunn, saying that they weren’t going to help him. One of them even appeared to laugh and say, “He just died!”

State Sen. Debbie Mayfield has since proposed State Bill 516, which would require a person at the scene of an emergency to provide reasonable assistance or face criminal charges.

But the bill “failed to receive sufficient support to pass,” according to Todd Brown with the State Attorney’s Office.

“Unfortunately, Florida law does not address this behavior and we are ethically restrained from pursuing criminal charges without a reasonable belief of proving a crime beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt,” said State Attorney Phil Archer.